For efficient use of conservation resources it is important to determine how species diversity changes across spatial scales. In many poorly known species groups little is known about at which spatial scales the conservation efforts should be focused. Here we examined how the community turnover of wood-inhabiting fungi is realised at three hierarchical levels, and how much of community variation is explained by variation in resource composition and spatial proximity. The hierarchical study design consisted of management type (fixed factor), forest site (random factor, nested within management type) and study plots (randomly placed plots within each study site). To examine how species richness varied across the three hierarchical scales, randomized species accumulation curves and additive partitioning of species richness were applied. To analyse variation in wood-inhabiting species and dead wood composition at each scale, linear and Permanova modelling approaches were used. Wood-inhabiting fungal communities were dominated by rare and infrequent species. The similarity of fungal communities was higher within sites and within management categories than among sites or between the two management categories, and it decreased with increasing distance among the sampling plots and with decreasing similarity of dead wood resources. However, only a small part of community variation could be explained by these factors. The species present in managed forests were in a large extent a subset of those species present in natural forests. Our results suggest that in particular the protection of rare species requires a large total area. As managed forests have only little additional value complementing the diversity of natural forests, the conservation of natural forests is the key to ecologically effective conservation. As the dissimilarity of fungal communities increases with distance, the conserved natural forest sites should be broadly distributed in space, yet the individual conserved areas should be large enough to ensure local persistence.